World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day is November 19

World Toilet Day is November 19

Having access to a toilet should not be a luxury in this day and age, and yet, this basic right is still being overlooked. The UN estimates that 2.4 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation facilities such as toilets and latrines. This lack of proper sanitation is a major public health and human rights issue and can contribute to the spread of deadly disease. To make matters worse, in communities without safe, private sanitation facilities, women and girls are at increased risk of sexual violence.

World Toilet Day facts

Oxfam is working to combat this in three core areas; providing water and sanitation in emergencies, providing water and sanitation for sustainable development, and utilizing green and affordable technologies to support and make a lasting change to the most vulnerable populations.

Nur*, 18 stands outside the Oxfam latrine that was installed near her home in Bangladesh. Credit: Tommy Trenchard / Oxfam
Nur*, 18 stands outside the Oxfam latrine that was installed near her home in Bangladesh. Credit: Tommy Trenchard / Oxfam

Toilets save lives

Half of the world’s population do not have access to a safe and dignified place to relieve themselves, and this lack of access to proper sanitation kills. Nearly 315,000 children die every year from diarrheal diseases linked to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. In communities where there are few sources of clean water, a safe sanitation system is an essential means to reduce the risk of contamination of drinking water from human waste. Access to safe sanitation also reduces the risk of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.

Toilets improve the lives of women and girls

Helping families and communities have decent toilets reduces the risk of sexual assault on women who have to go out in the open at night. Want to fight for the rights of women to basic dignity and safety? Think toilets. Want to decrease the school drop-out rate for adolescent girls? Girls are less inclined to attend schools without proper facilities, especially when they have their periods. Separate facilities for girls can make a difference.

“I used to go to the public latrines. They were open, so when you used them everyone would look at you. I was obliged to use it as there was no other option." Credit: Vincent Tremeau / Oxfam

Toilets are a good investment

Investing in proper sanitation saves communities and governments millions because they are less likely to have to respond to crises like cholera epidemics. The World Health Organization states that every dollar invested in “drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and water resource management…leads to up to eight dollars in benefits.” At the household level, one of the biggest drains on finances is health care, so keeping people (especially young children) healthy helps poor families save money too.

Toilets can be innovative

Lack of toilets is a chronic problem in many places. In Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, many families do not have their own toilets and instead rely on public bathrooms, Oxfam has provided dozens of households with composting toilets which use tiger worm to break down both liquid and solid waste. 

In Nairobi, we have outfitted a number of schools with Oxfam-funded “Fresh Life toilets.” A waste processor inside the toilet is collected every two hours, and the waste is processed and sold to local farms as fertilizer. The availability of Fresh Life toilets has increased school attendance, allowing more children to benefit from education.

You can help bring toilets to the people!

Now that you know all this great stuff about toilets you can help us make sure disaster survivors and refugees fleeing violence have access to a toilet. That’s right, you can give a toilet to those in need at https://secure.oxfam.ca/unwrapped/.

Give a Toilet

Can't hold it anymore? This world toilet day, pay 2 pee